Shackling free access

The BBC conducted a poll this March that indicated that 87% of those who use the Internet believe that it should be a "fundamental right." But a few countries do not believe that free online access is such a good thing.

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Fun and frolic

The shaky calm in Thailand has got many worrying: Is it safe enough for sex tourism yet?

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Weekly Market View: On the edge

The market is supported at 16,800, 16,300 and finally at 16,000. Below the last support, it would be mayhem

The domestic market ended higher by 2% on a weekly basis. However, concerns remain over the long-term rally. The benchmarks started the week with a gain on solid growth numbers announced by the government.

However, it was down by 372 points on Tuesday as freak trading on the counter of Reliance Industries (RIL) dragged down the indices. The market witnessed positive close for the rest of the week to end the week on a higher note.

The top five gainers for the week on the Sensex were Reliance Communications (up 14%), Maruti Suzuki (up 9%), Mahindra & Mahindra and Hindustan Unilever up 7% each and Bharti Airtel (up 6%). The top five losers were Sterlite Industries (down 5%), Jindal Steel & Power (down 4%), Jaiprakash Associates and Tata Power (down 3% each) and Tata Steel (down 2%).

In the sectoral space on the BSE, the auto and FMCG indices surged 4% each while the metal index was down 2% and the realty index declined 1%.

India's economy grew at 8.6% in the March quarter driven by the robust manufacturing sector as government and consumer spending increased. The growth was higher than the revised 6.5% expansion in Q3 December 2009 and 5.8% growth in Q4 March 2009. The manufacturing sector grew 16.3%, farm output grew 0.7%, the mining sector grew 14% while services increased by 8.4% in January-March 2010 from a year earlier. The economy grew at 7.4% for the year ended 31 March 2010. The government expects that growth will be on track and the economy will grow more than 8.5% in fiscal 2010-11.

The monsoon stared in Kerala, in line with the weather office's forecast that it would hit the mainland on 30th May.

On the global front, manufacturing in the eurozone grew at a slower rate in May.

The Markit Eurozone Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) for May sank to 55.8 from 57.6 in April, nudged down from an earlier flash estimate of 55.9. Manufacturers are being hit by increasing costs as the input price index reached its highest level since July 2008 at 73.7 last month, compared to 73.4 in April. Chinese manufacturing grew at a slower pace in May, indicating that the Chinese government's steps to control the economy could be having an effect.

The official China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing's (CFLP) Purchasing Managers' Index was down to 53.9 in May 2010 from 55.70 in April 2010, while HSBC Holdings PLC's PMI was down to 52.7 in May from a revised 55.2 in April. 

Back home, India's exports rose an annual 36% in April to $16.9 billion, the sixth consecutive rise after 13 straight months of decline. Imports rose 43% from a year earlier to $27.3 billion. Exports dropped 4.7% in the fiscal year 2009-10 as the global slowdown dampened demand. The HSBC Markit Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI), based on a survey of 500 Indian firms, surged to a 27-month high of 59 in May 2010 from 57.2 in April 2010, on steady growth in output, new orders and employment. The rate of growth had slowed in March and April 2010.  

In the US, the headline number showed a slight slowdown but new orders and exports were stable. The index of national factory activity was at 59.7 in May from 60.4 in April. The index's employment component rose to a six-year high, while new orders were unchanged at 65.7 and exports increased to 62 in May from 61 the previous month.

Closer home, the auto sector posted firm growth in May. Maruti Suzuki India sold 102,175 vehicles in May, the most for any month and up 28% from a year earlier.
Hyundai Motor Co's Indian unit sold 46,808 units in May including exports, an annual increase of 7%. Two-wheeler manufacturers also posted positive growth in May. Hero Honda Motors posted 14% growth in sales to more than 435,900 units.

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) said that inflation remained higher than its comfort level, signalling that the bank could raise interest rates further.

The Bank of Japan has asked the government to fix the fiscal deficit as public debt has been twice the size of Japan's gross domestic product (GDP).

Although the Japanese economy grew 1.2% in the first quarter of this year, the bank expressed its concern over the long-term economic growth of the nation after the slowdown in the eurozone.

India's food price index rose to 16.55% in the year to 22nd May, higher than the previous week's annual reading of 16.23%, following a rise in vegetable prices.

The fuel price index climbed 14.14%, compared with an annual rise of 12.08% in the previous week due to higher prices of electricity. The wholesale price index stood at 9.59% in April after hitting 10.6% in February.

The government said that it is was not yet time for RBI to intervene in the currency market after the rupee was down 4.3% against the dollar in May.
 

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